Yogu Shipping Container Coffee Shop, Banilad,Cebu,Philippines

I nearly missed this coffee shop as we drove past it today on the way to the Department of Science and Technology. Its a perfect example of a budget shipping container cafe but done in a very quaint way that is fully functional and the container actually gives it a bit of charm. The other important note here is the location as it slips quietly in between a condominium development and a petrol station which also shows how functional the building can be in a small space. The added canopy gives it a lit sitting area for evenings as well as canopies over the windows and outside area for shade against the Philippines sun.

Another great example of cargotecture in action.

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yugo shipping container cafe

SNAP Hydroponics

SNAP Hydroponics Ideal For Off Grid Living (No Electric Needed)

SNAP Hydroponics

A system developed in the Philippines which involves nutrient solutions seems to have answered one of the big issues here in the Philippines but also makes it an ideal grow method for container housing or other off grid homes, it doesn’t need electric! Basically the method involves a polystyrene tray that has a lid (often found for food delivery) that you cut circular holes for polystyrene cups to use as plant pots in it before lining the bottom of the tray with plastic sheet to waterproof it. In goes the cheap solution mixed with water and pretty much that’s the pots near enough setup except for a bit of medium to secure the plants but also means that once you have established your tray garden you can literally pick your food from the leaves for lettuce and other crops. I am sure the formula can be adapted for other types of plants as well.

Now bearing in mind a shipping container home has a large roof area which is not only flat but suffers with heat build up I am sure this may be a solution to help drop that temperature down while keeping your greens out of the reach of many garden pests. Adding a ladder to the side of your container means your plants are happily growing away on your roof and the fact they are self watering from the solution your not constantly worrying they dry out continuously. The other obvious benefits of SNAP Hydroponics is it can be up scaled or downscaled for winter or personal needs. I am currently researching it more here and going to put an order in for the SNAP solution so I can trial it but it does appear to be a very cheap option of growing greens, which are often overpriced in the Philippines.

SNAP Hydroponics

SNAP Hydroponics

The prefab WingHouse Unfolds From A Shipping Container

The Winghouse prefabricated container home

The Winghouse technically fits in a grey area as a container home as it unfolds from a shipping container but can you call it a true container home? The design and durability seems to give a more permanent feel as well as difficult to distinguish that its an unfolding prefabricated home. Total time of construction around 5 hours on site. The design itself as you scroll down the page you will see can be configured for many uses from home to office or even to dormitory space. Interesting design and one that is obviously one that can appeal to a wider audience.

The Winghouse prefabricated container homeThe Winghouse prefabricated container homeThe Winghouse prefabricated container homeThe Winghouse prefabricated container homeThe Winghouse prefabricated container home

The Winghouse prefabricated container home

The Winghouse prefabricated container home

The Winghouse prefabricated container home plans

The Winghouse prefabricated container home plansThe Winghouse prefabricated container home plans

The Importance Of A First Aid Kit

foot cut on glass

Its something we talk about a lot here at home about “getting one” but this week its been a case of we needed one! The cut was right down to the bone and without compression on the wound blood poured out of it. A simple mistake as someone had left some glass blades outside my office door which I tripped over leaving the room and swiftly found a deep cut and needing 4 stitches to put it all back together again.

The important thing here though is we are near the hospital and we did have stuff readily available, many shipping container home developments though are off-grid and in locations if working alone you may struggle to get back from. Adapting a first aid kit as well as getting in the habit of contacting people every hour if lone working is important for your own safety especially when doing construction work on your shipping container home. Commercially many of the lone working rules actually forbid the ability to do some of the stuff we do as private individuals if you were doing it for a company. So as you can see its pretty serious stuff and well worth preparing yourself for any emergencies.

Charity pressures councils over million empty homes

This is an odd thing in the UK as there is thousands of houses left empty and the worst offender is the government. Failed regeneration schemes, buying out of buildings for other reasons as well as empty caretaker and other ex use homes from past government posts are laying empty all over the place. Working inside the government housing sector before previously the issues are often more complex than they seem.

First issues are many have been left empty for years meaning for them to be utilized by government for social housing it would require considerable investment for any property due to the strict regulations. E.g. rewiring, re-plumbing,renewing the gas installation including all pipework, renewing bathrooms and kitchens over 25 years old etc. etc. these are all part of “politics”. You see what happened is people started to set housing standards that the government past on to its social housing these standards in general cannot be met for multiple reasons the main one being cash flow but also the quality of tenants isn’t great but their expectations and needs have increased.

What happens then is this situation where councils have properties they can neither renovate or rent out and although some of its down to stupidity often more than not its more to do with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. I remember an allocated property lot we received from the Royal Air Force for the housing association I was contracted with at the time. They had specific requirements to be brought up to standard yet even the basics were behind coming from another department. E.g. Our guideline is no more than 25 years on a kitchen or bathroom yet every property we received hadn’t had any major work done for at least 35 many still had coal bunkers and exterior toilets. Although they had a new bathroom installed at some point (still well past 35 years ago) which gave them a toilet indoors you get the picture of the state of these homes.

Why is this all relevant to shipping container homes your wondering? It shows the madness of society we live in where there is so much red tape and legislation that even the government creates problems for itself which also means getting your shipping container home through planning may be an initial battle. BUT the important thing here is the more people push through the more acceptable it becomes and the more people can do it. Personally I think there are many developments the social housing sector could benefit from using shipping container homes themselves as a long-term solution if not short-term for the housing shortages in the UK.

The other way to look at it is most of these houses are old and rundown the investment into them would be extremely costly and a stalemate is currently what we are seeing. Often its easier to rip out and start again rather than renovate and the shipping containers are a cheap option to the solution.

Yes this gets away from the green solutions but there are very few options open for these homes currently not in use and over 2 million families regardless as homeless in the UK but its a thing to ponder on how would you fix the problem?

Snack Box, New York–Shipping Container Take Away Restaurant

The pop up shipping container restaurants seem to be appearing all over the place lately. They can serve many traditional places that would normally be taken up with by a trailer restaurant or other form of temporary building. But more importantly they can also be used long-term and without being an eye sore in the way many of the other types become over time.

Snack Box, New York–Shipping Container Take Away Restaurant

The first thing is the shipping container structure gives you a blank wall canvas which can be jazzed up or made to blend in with environment with a lick of paint.

Snack Box, New York–Shipping Container Take Away Restaurant

The interior although limited in space due to being a solid structure does mean you can hang equipment on walls that other temporary buildings may struggle to accommodate as well as the fire proofing aspects of a steel building.

Snack Box, New York–Shipping Container Take Away Restaurant

The opening sides offer up being able to use them for canopies to keep people from getting soaked in a downpour as well as making it have a more traditional feel to the structure. Add to that the security features of being able to “lock it all up” before you go home there are very few reasons not to use a shipping container in this way.

Snack Box, New York–Shipping Container Take Away Restaurant

Sitting out in with its shiny backdrop of the neon city it doesn’t seem to stand out in any bad way especially amongst the billboards. Another good example of Shipping container architecture being used for restaurant purposes

Starbucks Seattle–Shipping container Cafe

starbucks shipping container drive through

Not the first shipping container cafe by Starbucks but its still heading in the right direction of recycling shipping containers.

The fact is unfortunately or maybe not? Shipping containers have become fashionably green. Myself its not about being green but more to the fact it makes a lot of sense recycling containers for homes,offices and other buildings. But Peter Demaria who’s part of this project from demariadesign.com said “Due to the trade imbalance with China, millions of containers are left in our ports every year,”. I would like to add this trend is changing rather rapidly with the current recessions round the world. In reality the containers we are seeing stuck at ports may not be so readily available in the future as more goods may end up having to be manufactured at home due to the fact most industries have now gone to China. You can only export so much trade until countries wake up to the fact they need to start developing their own manufacturing and not just rely on cheap imports as it damages the economy.

Recycling the containers though takes only five per cent of the energy that melting down the steel it a beam for example. Often greens will be pushing the fact the containers shouldn’t exist in the first place but in reality they are already here! Lets deal with the surplus as the lowering imports will no doubt reduce the numbers of containers.

Back on to Starbucks new cafe, Mr Demaria has worked on other shipping container building projects already including a house in Redondo Beach, gallery and a condo building in other locations within the United States.

What we are seeing with the Starbucks container building though is a prototype being put together its unique not only in the steel container design but also that it will be drive-up and walk-up only with no space to lounge inside.

And it will be portable, he said, easy to break it down and transport somewhere else. “We see a lot of opportunities here,” he said. “We can put a store like this on a lot that will be developed someday but is free for two or three years, and then we can move it.”

Also Starbucks is looking to the fact it imports tea, coffee and other products into the United States as well as other countries and would like to see the containers not going to waste.

Flat Pack Shipping Container By ASA Container

modular container building

Its a system that is often overlooked but is heavily used by certain industries such as the military. The fact is the whole unit can be flat packed and then as you can see in the picture the base and ceiling make up the transportation box with everything inside before being raised. Then the pillars form up on the edges before the slot walls go in. I worked on this style of construction for some time as well as the traditional “plywood” construction of modular structures such as classrooms. It was the shipping container system though that revolutionised the industry and I just wanted to show that this produced in a factory can give a very high finish and low cost installation. For me in the Philippines I know of a mountain that is for sale very cheap and could easily see these being sold down the side of it as low cost housing. Adding to the mountain top a large water gathering system as well as wind turbine and solar panels. Maybe a project for the future but when looking at shipping containers and modular housing remember that the modular frames of containers are built round the same size so mixing with shipping containers is possible for example using a framed unit in the photo without its sides welded to two 20ft containers either side with their sides cut out would give a room 24ft wide by 20ft long without too much effort.

Source: ASA Container

Container Gardening In Empty Construction Lots (River park farm New York)

Zach Pickens, of Brooklyn, N.Y., manager of Riverpark Farm, tends to his crops. Instead of allowing stalled projects to become eyesores, some developers are coming up with creative ways to use them temporarily until construction can begin.

With the downward spiral of the economies around the world one thing is for sure the housing market has well and truly stalled. The main reason being not that there is a lack of demand but the mix of speculative building and the crazy loaning of before 2008 has left many homes oversized for what people can afford. I worked in social housing before and could see it all over the UK where 1 – 2 bedroom homes are shunned for 4 – 6 bedroom luxury homes. Often the smaller homes were remodelled and extended or bulldozed to build a bigger home. Issue with this today is there is a lot of spaces out there that aren’t seeing construction take place as corporations and landowners sit waiting for the next bubble to begin before starting construction again. This leaves many empty construction lots all over the world which could be utilized for urban farming as we see in the photo above. Its all being done in crates so highly mobile. This feeds local needs as well as creates jobs on land that is currently stuck in limbo hope we will be seeing more of these styled projects to remove eyesore land into useable farm lots.

Living In A Shipping Container–The Right Type Of People

the wrong crowd

The thing with shipping container homes is you will either get a “that’s cool” or you must be mad type of comment from the people around you. But myself I consider myself one of the right type of people for a shipping container home and I will explain why.

Initially through my first years of leaving school and struggling through college I was having to make do and maximise my cash flow sometimes would be a case of down to the last few pounds (UK money) and then buying something I could then sell later to make more money. Over the years this developed where I was cashing in my salary at the end of the week selling goods all weekend before putting money back in the bank on Monday.

This isn’t thrifty but it does go against the grain as we are told we should have the latest clothes, expensive car, nice house etc. the fact is everything is based around consumer spending and increasing personal debt. I will give a simple example of what I mean if you take a rawl plug its pushed on all the DIY shows as the way to hang a shelf etc but does anyone talk about a whittled piece of wood you just hammer in the hole and snap the head off? Something that is free, doesn’t damage the environment and most of the time actually does a better job due to a tighter fit? Of course not you go down to hardware store and buy the bits and pieces we are told are “right for the job”. The removing of thought from most things has been on going for some time.

Now for me I spend most of my life up and down financially as even when I was with my ex partner and having a great salary her expenditure was a struggle to control. We had the house, the car, 5 horses, ate out most of the time etc.

My salary then was around ten times greater than most of the people I knew from school and generally it was gone at the end of the month due to everything being on finance to keep up with my ex’s desire to compete with the neighbours. But here is what changed.

I left after a problem in the relationship and within the first month I had already saved nearly £3,000 even though was still burdened by debt left over from the relationship. How? because I didn’t eat out and if I did it was lunch time at work that meant my night time meal wasn’t a big curry take out but often was even skipped if not something simple. I began cooking more and at the same time because I had regained my financial control I started to use my remainder at the end of the month for paying off huge chunks of debt instead of thinking “hey lets party!”.

I began to get debt free to the point where I am today living in a completely debt free environment on the other side of the world in the Philippines. If anything I have learned we don’t need most of the stuff we are told are “essential” or this years big item! Even in the U.S. people are waking up to the fact they are sold lies daily and the American dream has changed including the idealism of consumerism. They have realised the last iPhone didn’t enhance their lives so generally don’t buy the new mobile because its irrelevant except as a fashion accessory. That’s all part and parcel of living in a shipping container because its not about “getting by” but actually taking control of your life.

Here in the Philippines Christmas is celebrated by church masses and giving food to neighbours the giving of presents is something being leaked in from the U.S. but thank god most people haven’t bought into it. Personally I actually tell people not to buy me gifts but instead save their money. Not because I am too tight to buy for others but simply most of the time people buy stuff for each other they neither need or want. I would rather someone took the cash and paid off a bit of their credit card because that’s a Christmas gift that keeps giving and not only makes me happy but also helps them get debt free.

This is how it gets on to the right type of people for Shipping container homes as its often down to what people want and need in life. There has been a lot of interest in the single mother living in a shipping container home she built for less than $4,000 but in reality it was her financial restraints that led her into this type of life. For others its being environmental,minimalistic or wanting control of their own lives. For me its a case of minimalist living and being debt free while achieving home ownership. Its not for everyone which is why people either get it or don’t.